Organize your genealogyEdit This Page
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Want more information about a specific locality/topic
Organize my genealogy information
Task: Understand how the wiki is organized (for contributors with a little more experience)
Looking for information about a specific locality or topic
In the Research Wiki helpful articles are organized in two different ways; by locality or by topic.
Genealogical sources are usually found in or near the place where a person was born, lived or died.
You can search for information about a location by typing the location into the search box. You should start with the largest geographic area.
Understanding how the Wiki is organized
The Research Wiki is an interactive network of linked information about genealogy. The Research Wiki has individual pages, those with content about genealogy are referred to as articles.
There are some basic organizational structures that help users find information. These include:
- [Search engine]. The Research Wiki has an integrated search engine that will search on any word or combination of words on any page. There is a search box on almost every page.
- Categories. Many pages have categories on the bottom of the page. You can click on a category to see related articles.
- Namespaces. There is a general structure to the Research Wiki called Namespaces. Most of the articles are in the Main Namespace, but you can find additional resources in other namespaces.
- Geographical linking. Most of the articles in the Wiki are organized according to geographical jurisdiction and linked to related jurisdictions.
- Subject headings. Try searching for a topic such as probate or vital records. Some of the articles are organized by topic.
Finding information about a specific locality
Before you begin a search for information on a specific locality, it is a good idea to verify a connection between your ancestor and the locality. Here are some resources to assist you in finding and verifying locality information.
- A New Genealogy Research Locality Tool
- Locality Subject Subdivisions
- How to Get the Best Research Advice
- Guessing the Easiest to Research Person and Event
- How to Guess Where to Start
- How to Begin a Search for Your Ancestor
- A Guide to Research
It is always helpful to locate places on a map in order to see relationships and to support or deny a theory about the family's movements. Look at the basic Research Wiki page for Maps. Remember the online mapping programs.
Finding information about a specific topic
The Research Wiki is partially organized by topic or subject as well as geographically. But each geographic area in the entire Wiki has its own list of topics. Here is a sample list from the general topic of the United States:
Basic Search Strategies and Record Selection Table
|States and Capitols Map||Adoption||African Americans|
|American Indians||Archives and Libraries||Bible Records|
|Church Records||Correctional Institutions||Court Records|
|Database Websites||Directories||Emigration and Immigration|
|Land and Property||Maps||Migration|
|Military Records||Minorities||Naturalization and Citizenship|
|Vital Records||Voter Records||Other Records|
Try looking for a specific geographic jurisdiction for a list of topics more directed at that location.
Organizing your genealogical information
As you begin your genealogical research, you may soon find the need to organize the information you find. There are many ways to organize genealogical information and you need to find a method that is most helpful to you personally.
Stage One: Paper based system
Many genealogists start out with a paper based system. The basic forms are a Family Group Record and a Pedigree Chart. There are a number of websites that provide free downloadable copies of the basic forms for starting your investigations. Here is a link to a summary of many available forms.
Stage Two: Using a computer program
After becoming more involved, you may move to a computer based genealogy program. There are many types of programs available for both the Apple operating systems and the Windows operating systems. There are also programs for tablet computers and smartphones.
- Mac Genealogy Software
- Windows Genealogy Software
- Genealogy Management Software at Family History Centers
Stage Three: Organizing your information on your computer
Once you begin to enter genealogical information into your computer, you will find a lot of additional information to store. Most of the genealogical database programs will provide a way to attached sources and media to an individual and a family.
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What is genealogy?
Genealogy is the process of discovering information about your family in an organized fashion. Further, it is a collection of tools, methodologies and procedures for organizing and analyzing the information that you find.
What is the goal of genealogical research?
The goal of genealogical research is to compile, as accurately as possible, an organized collection of information about your family.
Where do I find information about my family?
Records about individuals and families are found in records maintained by those individuals, those families, their social organizations, their religious organizations, their fraternal organizations and at every level of governmental organizations.
Where are the records located?
Records with information about your family might be located anywhere your family may have lived. Most genealogical records are associated with a geographic location but they can also be located according to the political jurisdiction at the time the event occurred.
What is the Research Wiki?
The Research Wiki is a huge collection of short articles about how to find your family and where to look for information about where to find ancestors.
How can I use the Research Wiki?
You can use the Research Wiki if you have any or all of the following questions:
- Are you looking for information about doing genealogy or family history?
- Are you looking for information about finding a specific ancestor?
- Do you need help organizing your research?
- Do you need help finding a specific type of record?
- Did you want to find out about the Research Wiki?
The Research Wiki provides resources to answer these and other similar questions about genealogical research.
How is the Research Wiki organized?
The Research Wiki has information in three major categories:
- Information about the Research Wiki itself
- Information about genealogical resources organized by location
- Information about genealogical resources organized by subject matter
Relevant Research Wiki Articles:
How do I find information in the Research Wiki?
The Research Wiki is basically a searchable collection of articles about genealogy. You do this by entering search terms such as place names, types of source documents, or other words in the search boxes on nearly every page.
Here are some Research Wiki Articles on searching:
- Search for Articles in the FamilySearch Research Wiki
- Help:Basic Searches
- Select Records to Search
What other information is in the Research Wiki?
Entry tracks into the Research Wiki
(Levels of interest and experience in the Research Wiki)
Needs Information about genealogy and how to do genealogical research
Experienced in genealogy, needs information about Research Wiki Looking for specific content information, needs help finding the information
New to the Research Wiki?
In the FamilySearch Research Wiki, you can learn how to do genealogical research or share your knowledge with others.Learn More